Tuesday, February 17 at 12:00 PM Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University 23 Everett Street, Second Floor, Cambridge, MA 02138
On July 20, 2014 the Ebola outbreak landed in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country. Public health officials warned that an outbreak could be catastrophic in Lagos, a densely populated city of 21 million. 19 confirmed cases left 11 dead from the disease, but Nigeria’s nightmare scenario never occurred. Within three months, the World Health Organization declared Nigeria Ebola-free, deeming the nation's efforts to contain the disease a "spectacular success story”.
In a country with 130 million mobile-phone users and active social networks, social media and mobile technology played a central role in Nigeria’s Ebola containment. SMS platforms were used to share information on the signs and symptoms of the virus. Ebola Alert, a technology organization formed by group of volunteer doctors, used Facebook and Twitter to increase awareness through 24/7 updates and online Ebola chats. Social media campaigns deployed Nollywood stars to sensitize audiences, manage fear and myths, and reduce stigma. Contract tracers were equipped GPS technology on mobile devices to ensure accountability and accuracy during interviews and monitoring. Health workers were provided with mobile phones and an Android app that allowed for immediate and critical information sharing. Each of these strategies led to fast communication, better self-reporting and identification of Ebola contacts, successful tracking and monitoring - all essential components of an outbreak response that Nigeria got right in record time. What can we learn from Nigeria? And how can these strategies be utilized in public health challenges in Africa and beyond?
This discussion will include video interviews with Nigerian doctors, health workers, social media campaigners and Ebola survivors from an upcoming documentary on this subject.
Aimee Corrigan is the Co-Director of Nollywood Workshops, a hub for filmmakers in Lagos, Nigeria that supports and delivers movie production and distribution, training, and research. She is also a documentary photographer and filmmaker. Aimee's passion for Nollywood sparked during her participation in the production of the documentary This Is Nollywood.
Aimee completed her Masters in Education at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education.